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Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Opinion

Caitlyn Jenner really is the new normal


Leah Nash/The Cougar

Caitlyn Jenner, previously Bruce, has made a lasting impact on modern culture. Her public transition has sweetened a tense world where normality can mold, confine and almost suffocate those who are in search of their own selves.

“Put it this way: I’m the new normal,” Jenner said.

UH, being the second most ethnically diverse major research university in the U.S. is “committed to maintaining and strengthening an educational, working and living environment where students, faculty, staff and visitors are free from discrimination and harassment of any kind.”

With multiple resource centers and an overwhelming amount of help available to students, UH seems to boast a high level of social acceptance, which is not always seen at a Texas university.

According to Baylor University’s student policies and procedures, “students will not participate in advocacy groups which promote understandings of sexuality that are contrary to biblical teaching.”

At least UH tries to be accepting.

“Students and administrators really try to be as inclusive as they can be. I’m glad of all the efforts the University of Houston is trying to make to create an inclusive environment,” said Lorraine Schroeder, program director of the LGBT Resource Center.

Houston is, for the most part, friendly to the LGBT community. The accepting constituents voted Mayor Annise Parker into office, making Houston the most populous U.S. city to elect an openly gay mayor.

Jenner is a part of that community, and she has opened a door for conversation and exposure.

“Caitlyn encourages parents to talk to their (children) about this and have open discussions,” said Colt Keo-Meier, who was the first out transgender individual to graduate with a Ph.D from the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.

Hopefully Jenner’s actions will spark conversations amongst families, benefiting those seeking their own kind of normal, including Cougars who might be searching for themselves.

Even some spiritual leaders on campus are accepting of individuals who decide to live in their own truth. Pastor Fuerst, who represents the Houston Lutheran Campus Ministry, is one of them.

“All humans are created in God’s image,” Fuerst said. “Every human being is ascribed dignity and respect.”

The collective ideology of this country is moving steadily toward moral acceptance across the board. Jenner’s actions have opened many eyes to the realities of transgender life, and made its discussion familiar.

She has used her status as a celebrity to move her life and the lives of a community in a better direction.

Still, some, like Keo-Meier, don’t crown her a hero.

“Just because the average person has heard about Caitlyn, doesn’t mean that she’s our hero,” said Keo-Meier.

Transgender advocates have been fighting for rights and equality long before Jenner emerged.

“Saying that she is ‘the one,’ or ‘the only’ change maker, really negates the experiences and accomplishments of (other transgender leaders),” Keo-Meier said. “Her story is important.”

Stories of heroes and leaders can range from overnight workers, police officers, to those who serve for their country.

But whatever definition of the term ‘hero’ you have, Jenner, to many, is a hero, applauded and worthy of admiration for her display of bravery. She is a leader in a world where abnormality is frowned upon and discrimination prevails.

She is a human. And whenever an individual stands up for what is right and for the truth, that is heroism. We aren’t running out of space for heroes, so why pigeon-hole the term?

Like a diamond, Jenner shines, radiating over UH in a culture desperately needing a cure for the social ailments that hurt so many seeking approval, spiritual freedom and happiness.

She’s the new normal — a ray of light for a brighter, more accepting future.

Opinion columnist Sebastian Troitiño is a finance and marketing junior and may be reached at [email protected]

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